Set Your Own "Load Limit"
Part 5 of a series on managing diabetes stress
There are only 168 hours in the week. You (hopefully) try to sleep for 56 of them. Work another 40 plus—in or outside your home. Exercise. Shop, cook, eat. The list goes on and on. Suddenly, you're stretched too thin.
Now add in all the demands other people put on your time. It's no surprise that you're the one they ask—many people with diabetes are master organizers. But sometimes, you need to say no. If you're not comfortable with that word, here are some ways to get better at it.
Never say yes on the spot. Get in the habit of saying you'll check your schedule and get back to them. You'll have an automatic answer ready, and you'll have time to consider whether you can fulfill the request. Plus, turning someone down can be easier over the phone.
Short-circuit the need for an excuse. Practice saying this in the mirror: "I'm sorry, I won't be able to do that." If you really need an excuse, try "I can't fit that into my schedule right now" or "I can't commit to that on a regular basis." You don't need to justify your decision. Of course, if you want to get creative, check out the ideas at A Good Excuse.
Consider the total time commitment. A school committee meets only once a week? Easy. Except you may have to get a babysitter, take on tasks between meetings, arrange to carpool, make phone calls and so on. Suddenly, it's not an hour anymore.
Be realistic about consequences. Think about it—what will really happen if you tell your boss you can't take on another assignment? Are you really going to lose your job or will they realize they need to staff up? A candid conversation may be more productive than taking on more than you can handle.
Set limits on yourself, too. How are you spending unproductive time? Of course, you're entitled to watch television or surf the Internet, but make sure you're sitting there because you're enjoying yourself. If not, switch gears. Work on a home project, enjoy an evening stroll or read a book.
It isn't just about saying "no" to others—it's about saying "yes" to yourself.
See what MayoClinic has to say about giving people the big N-O.
1American Diabetes Association. Stress. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/stress.html. Accessed October 17, 2011.